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Detection of Methane in the Atmosphere of Mars

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Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1758-1761
DOI: 10.1126/science.1101732

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Abstract

We report a detection of methane in the martian atmosphere by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer onboard the Mars Express spacecraft. The global average methane mixing ratio is found to be 10 ± 5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). However, the mixing ratio varies between 0 and 30 ppbv over the planet. The source of methane could be either biogenic or nonbiogenic, including past or present subsurface microorganisms, hydrothermal activity, or cometary impacts.

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